The Faculty of International Letters and Cultures incorporates sustainability principles into courses.

November 12, 2021

Members of the faculty of Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures are working to integrate sustainability concepts into their language courses and curriculum in general, climate and environmental issues, broad cultural themes, and issues surrounding global futures.

The effort to revitalize the curriculum follows a similar initiative from the school’s Italian department a year ago.
Teachers at the School of International Letters and Cultures are working to integrate sustainability concepts into their language lessons and the curriculum as a whole.
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Now, the goal is to incorporate sustainability for every Italian course at every level – from introductory to advanced, both Italian and English. Other programs at the school are also invited to take this test.

The school’s overall efforts are being led by Principal Chiara Dal Martello, who taught the Spring 2021 “Natural Disasters” course and was instrumental in encouraging its staff to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum of the Italian program – and now in all schools. The correct approach is left to each individual programmer and professor.

“The Portuguese program has chosen not only additional modules for the area but also an integrated approach,” said Cesar Medieros, senior program coordinator. “The initiative will require significant sections of our curriculum to be sustained, from full chapters to a few chapters, to engage students in current environmental discussions and to a variety of activities.”

In the spring of 2022, Mediros Primary Portuguese II course will include lectures on housing, mansions and sustainable buildings. Students are invited to discuss the ASU Student Pavilion in Tempe, which is set up as a Net Zero Energy Building.

“This life experience provides the necessary context for the students to have an in-depth discussion of the environment while learning the language. The students’ own experiences can be compared to similar experiences in a Portuguese-speaking country,” Medeiros said.

Sustainability issues go beyond geographical boundaries and time periods. Frances Mirget, an ancient Hebrew associate professor, has published a series of essays on the relationship between the human and the non-human world. Examples of these early sources include laws that promote sustainable thinking of animals and stories about man’s place in the natural world.

“Our study of how ancient cultures reflect the sustainability of our lives adds to our current anxiety. … We need to ask ourselves why ancient writers were so involved in developing sustainable practices, ”says Mirget. “Biblical texts have been written for centuries, under different circumstances, by different authors. Concerns have changed over time, and ideas about the role and place of human beings in the world have changed.

The Italian program continues to expand its list of courses that include concepts of sustainability. Vocabulary education provides a solid basis for exploring a wide range of topics, says Italian teacher Antonio del Anna.

For example, middle class Italian middle school students will study Comparison and Advanced next semester to learn and compare renewable energy initiatives focused on public transportation. This course continues by asking students to explore and asking them to describe a lasting vacation in Italy. These assignments allow students to expand their vocabulary in the language they are learning and increase their understanding of environmental issues and what it is like to live in a learning environment.

It is important for Mediros to have a balanced view of sustainability topics for him and other Portuguese educators. Students need to feel empowered to develop better environmental solutions and help the community achieve a sustainable global future.

“Creativity is a Portuguese talent that has always been a motivating force in our students,” he said. “One of the main objectives of the Portuguese program is to equip students with the best possible skills in any endeavor.”

Deacon of the Japanese teacher Yukari Nakumura-echoes this idea. During the semester, second-year Japanese high school students talked to their peers at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, about personal and social practices such as food waste, energy saving and garbage disposal.

Nakamura: Deacon illustrates the process of recycling plastic bottles in Japan. Nonprofits sell it to companies that reuse it to produce other products, and nonprofits use the proceeds to other public activities such as vaccinating school children.

“What difference does it make if we each learn from this practice and begin to apply it in our daily lives?” Nakamura: Deacon asked.

“I personally believe that if we can learn important lessons from each other and apply them in our daily lives, we will personally experience a double, triple, and more positive impact,” she said. “(The school) is a melting pot where different cultures can be integrated to achieve a big goal, and it (the school) provides an opportunity to nurture this idea.”

The School of International Letters and Cultures plans to continue to develop sustainable content in more than 40 programs and more than 20 languages ​​through language courses and other classes. Overall, these additions and improvements ensure that students in the school curriculum are given ample opportunities to participate in future emergencies in a variety of ways.

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